31 DECEMBER 2023


The albums below are "Classical Releases Of Current Key Significance," or "CROCKS", if you will. To purchase an album, simply click on one of the web site retail outlets given in the "AVAILABILITY" table under the write-up.

The album cover may not always appear.
Cooke, A.: Complete String Quartets V1 (Nos. 1, 3 & 5); Bridge Quartet [Toccata]
British composer Arnold Cooke (1906-2005) led a long, productive life, and left a significant body of works across all genres. They include a large number for chamber ensembles, and just a couple of years ago we recommended some of these with a piano (see 31 January 2020). Now the adventurous Toccata people give us the first of two volumes devoted to all five of his string quartets. The three here are world premiere recordings.

As a youngster Arnold began playing the cello, and was a member of a string quartet during his student days in England. Cooke also spent three years in Berlin (1929-32), where he studied composition with the renowned Paul Hindemith (1895-1963). Consequently, it's not surprising that his four-movement, String Quartet No. 1 (1933) shows the influence of that great German composer-teacher.

This is true right from the start of its initial "Lento non troppo (Slow but not overly so)" marked Fuga (Fugue) [T-8]. To wit, this has a subtle first subject [00:00] very reminiscent of the one which opens Paul's String Quartet No. 4 (Op. 22; 1921). What's more, as in Hindemith's opening movement, Cooke's has implications of that old BACH motif and ends "Ganz Ruhig (Very calmly)".

The pace quickens with a subsequent "Vivace (Spirited)" Scherzo [T-9]. Here a capricious ditty [00:00] is followed by a somewhat songful one [00:44], and the foregoing thoughts are material for a contrapuntal exploration [01:51]. Then hints of this movement's opening measures appear [04:13], thereby bringing it full circle.

An "Allegretto (Fairly quick)" Intermezzo comes next [T-10]. Here an affable opening idea [00:00] is the subject of a pleasant musical conversation between the four instruments. It has a great deal of imitation and ends uneventfully.

Then we get a "Presto (Very fast)" Finale [T-11]. This has outer sections [00:00, 05:08] that come off like a frantic, fugal exercise based on a frenetic version of the work's opening subject. They lie on either side of a reflective, presumably "Allegretto (moderately fast)" marked midriff [03:40-05:07], and bring the work to a cogent conclusion.

Cooke's String Quartet No. 3 was written three decades later (1967). It's also in four movements, and the first "Allegro energico (Fast and energetic)" one [T-1] is highly contrapuntal. This has several motifs, three of them being respectively sassy [00:00], swaying [00:18] and insistent [00:43]. These are material for subsequent songful [01:42, 02:44], capricious [02:17, 03:10] as well as wistful [03:40, 04:12] treatments, and then hints of the opening moments [04:27] implement a curt conclusion.

Structurally speaking, the following "Andante (Slow)" movement [T-2] is in ternary, A-B-A form. Here somber "A"s [00:00, 05:39] surround a somewhat wary "B" [02:13-05:38] and bring things full circle. Then the foregoing is offset by a "Molto allegro (Very lively)" Scherzo of "moto perpetuo (perpetuum mobile)" persuasion [T-3]. It has a jittery main idea [00:00] that continually gambols about.

All this activity sets the stage for the "Allegro vivace (Fast and spirited)", contrapuntally spiced, fourth movement [T-4]. This has a forceful preface [00:00] hinting at a headstrong idea that soon appears [00:12]. The latter is then the subject for several treatments, which are sequentially fugal [00:30], flirtatious [00:47], commanding [01:38], folksong-like with pizzicato seasoning [02:08], flighty [02:51] and assertive [03:33]. Then the latter wanes into a Scotch-Snap-riddled coda [04:49] that ends the work exultantly.

The String Quartet No. 5 was composed in 1978, lasts only about ten minutes, and has three sections separated by brief pauses. The opening "Moderato (Moderate)", sonata-form one [T-5] starts with a complacent idea [00:00] followed by a jumpy second [01:08]. Then these ideas are the material for an inventive development [01:45] and concise recap [02:57].

A second "Allegro (Lively)" one [T-6] is of two dispositions. Here busy scherzoesque moments [00:00, 01:51, 02:10, 03:51] alternate with a more restrained thought (RT) [01:18, 02:03, 03:40, 04:02], which leaves things hanging in midair.

But then Cooke gives us a busy, "Presto (Very fast)", fugal third section [T-7] based on the work's two opening ideas. This has a remembrance of RT [00:37-00:57] and concludes with a peremptory pizzicato plunk [01:16].

These performances are by the Bridge Quartet, which is named after English composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941). Its members include 1st violinist Colin Twigg (see TOCC-0387), who founded it some thirty years ago, 2nd violinist Catherine Schofield, violist Michael Schofield and cellist Lucy Wilding. They give technically accomplished, concise renditions of all three works.

The recordings took place 21-22 November 2022 and 5-6 March 2023 at All Saints' Church in Thornham, England, located some 130 miles north of London. They present consistently generous sonic images in surroundings with just the right amount of reverberation. The instruments are comfortably spaced from left to right in order of increasing size, and the overall string tone is good, but would have been better on a Super Audio disc.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P231231)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Fuchs. K.: Orch Works V1 (Cloud Slant, Solitary..., Pacific Visions, Quiet in...); Walker/Wilson/SinfaLon [Chandos (Hybrid)]
American composer Kenneth Fuchs (b. 1956) -- not to be confused with Robert Fuchs (1847-1927; see 31 March 2018) -- makes a long overdue appearance in these pages with this recent Chandos hybrid, CD(2)/SACD(2/5.0) release. What's more, these are all world première recordings.

During the early 1970s, Kenneth played flute in various school orchestras and wind bands. After that, he got a Bachelor of Music degree in composition at the University of Miami (1979). Fuchs then went on to earn Master's (1983) and Doctoral (1988) ones from the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. His instructors at the latter included such outstanding American composers as Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987), David Diamond (1915-2005), Milton Babbitt (1916-2011), Alfred Reed (1921-2005), Stanley Wolfe (1924-2009) and David Del Tredici (1937-2023).

Subsequently, he's held academic positions at Juilliard (1985-88), the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (1988-89), Manhattan School of Music (1990-98) as well as University of Oklahoma (1998-2005). And currently, Kenneth is Professor of Music Composition at the University of Connecticut.

Fuchs has produced a significant body of works across all genres, and is arguably one of America's leading orchestral composers as evidenced by the selections presented here. That said, the program begins with Cloud Slant (2020-21), which was written for this recording.

Moreover, the composer calls it a "Concerto for Orchestra after Three Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler", and goes on to add "For John Wilson and Sinfonia of London, in warm friendship". Incidentally, she was an American abstract expressionist artist (1928-2011), and each of the three movements was inspired by and accordingly subtitled after one of her pictures.

First there's "Blue Fall" (1966) [T-1]. This has an "Allegretto (Lively)" start [00:03], limning the picture's dark, central, waterfall-like image. It's followed by a "Pesante (Heavy)" segment [01:20] that calls up "Allegro deciso (Fast with determination)" [02:36] as well as "Andante cantabile (Flowing and songlike)" [04:15] ones. Then a lovely melody opens an "Andante cantabile, ma non troppo (Flowing and songlike, but not not too fast)" episode [04:55].

This proceeds attacca into the next "Flood" (1967) [T-2]. Here the initial "Adagietto (Rather slow)" [00:00] invokes images of the painting's upper, rubicund portion. However, the subsequent "Pesante (Heavy)" [01:52], "Poco maestoso (Somewhat majestic)" [03:38], and "Andante flessibile (Flowing and flexible)" [04:17] ones seemingly characterize the lower, respectively forest-green and indigo areas.

That curious patch of white at the bottom, left-hand corner suggests the third of Helen's creations honored here, namely "Cloud Slant" (1968). This is on the above album cover, and the associated movement follows attacca [T-3].

It opens with an "Allegretto (Joyful)" preface [00:00], hinting at a "Più mosso (More Lively)", catchy idea that soon follows [00:19]. This is the basis for several treatments, the first four being sequentially "Commodo (Comfortably paced)" [00:41], "Pesante (Heavy)" [01:25], "Vivo (Lively)" [01:47] and "Adagio flessibile (Slow and flexible)" [02:02]. Then there's another "Vivo (Lively)" one [03:30] as well as a "Pesante (Heavy)" [04:26] last, which brings the work to a tranquil conclusion.

The next selection, Solitary the Thrush (2019-20), is a single-movement, "Concerto for C and Alto Flute and Orchestra" [T-4]. It has four-adjoining sections, where the odd numbered ones call for a C instrument, and the even, an Alto one. This was inspired by American poet Walt Whitman's (1819-1892) elegy for Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" (1985), and the title for Ken's work is taken from the third line of the poem's fourth stanza .

Its first section (C flute) has an "Adagietto (Rather slow)" opening [00:00], in which the soloist mimics a melancholy birdsong. This turns "Poco più mosso (Somewhat more Lively)" [01:01], and then "Allegro vivace (Fast and spirited)" [03:04] as we get spunky passages. These ebb into an "Adagietto (Rather slow)" second section (Alto flute) [05:23], where the soloist invokes feelings of what could be human frailty.

However, the foregoing conjoin an "Allegro vivace (Fast and spirited)" third section (C flute) [09:19], in which the soloist calls up [09:39] seemingly cheerful moments possibly reflecting an acceptance of reality. But the "Adagietto (Rather slow)" fourth section [13:55] has a whimpering (Alto flute) [14:01], and ends things quietly with intimations of mortality.

The following Pacific Visions is a one-movement work for string orchestra [T-5] that's in five conjoined sections. This was written for a concert honoring a new wing by that name at the Aquarium of the Pacific located in Long Beach, California.

It has an "Allegro energico (Fast and energetic)", compelling first section [00:00] that unexpectedly turns into a "Cadenza, Larghetto (Ornamental, Rather slow)" second [02:31]. The latter is based on a pensive thought, and consequently, quite contemplative.

However, the mood becomes increasingly whimsical in the last three sections. These are sequentially marked "Allegro scherzando (Fast and playful)" [05:19], "Presto (Very fast)" [06:19] and "Prestissimo (Extremely fast) " [07:25], thereby bringing the work to an exhilarating conclusion.

The closing Quiet in the Land (2017) [T-6] is a poem for orchestra of mixed disposition. More specifically, on one hand it has the peaceful aspects of the composer's earlier, eponymous chamber work (2003; not currently available on disc) that was inspired by the seemingly endless prairie and blue skies of the Midwestern United States. But on the other, there are martial moments, which reflect the difficult times brought about in the U.S. by the Iraq War (2003-2011).

It has a pastoral "Adagietto flessibile (Rather slow and flexible)" opening [00:00] hinting at a chorale-like theme that soon makes a "Molto moderato (Very moderate)" appearance [01:37]. The latter then undergoes some belligerent treatments that range from "Allegro agitato (Fast and excited)" [04:28] to "Poco Maestoso (Somewhat majestic)" [06:06] and again "Allegro agitato (Fast and excited)" [06:32].

After that the music takes on a variety of characteristics, the first five being sequentially "Adagietto (Slow)" [06:48], "Feroce (Furious)" [07:29], "Molto moderato (Very moderate)" [08:05], "Allegro agitato (Fast and excited)" [10:13] as well as "Allegro scorrevole (l'istesso tempo) (Fast and flowing, but at the same speed)" [11:34]. Then an "Adagio flessibile (Slow and flexible)" one [12:01], followed by a "Poco agitato (Somewhat excited)" twelfth [13:35] end the work and disc tranquilly.

These performances are by the Sinfonia of London (SinfaLon) under British conductor John Wilson (b. 1972). He reformed SinfaLon back in 2018 to undertake recordings for this label (see Chandos-5220), and once again they deliver superb accounts of more symphonic rarities. Flautist Adam Walker (b. 1987) makes a strong case for Solitary the Thrush [T-4].

The recordings were made 5 December 2021 [T-5] and 3-5 January 2022 [T-1, 2, 3, 4, 6] at St. Augustine Church in Kilburn, London. They present consistently generous sonic images with the many solo and small groups of instruments in these colorfully scored works well captured and balanced. The orchestral timbre is characterized by pleasant highs, a rich midrange and clean bass that goes down to rockbottom.

Each of the stereo tracks project generous sonic images, and the multichannel one will give those with home theater systems an ideal orchestra seat. One word of caution, the dynamic range is awesome, so be careful about your level settings, particularly if you're listening on headphones. But no matter how you play it, this release earns an "Audiophile" stripe.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y231230)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Noskowski: Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2 "Elegiac"; Wit/DSpRh-Pf [Capriccio]
Those with a penchant for late-romantic music will be delighted with this recent Capriccio release. It gives us superb new recordings of the first two of Polish composer-teacher-conductor Zygmunt Noskowski's (1846-1909) three symphonies.

Zygmunt was born in Warsaw and studied at what's now known as the Chopin University of Music with Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872; see Naxos-8.660516-17, 8.572718). Then after graduating with distinction in 1867, he spent three years (1872-75) in Germany furthering his education at the Akademische Hochschule für Musik (AHM), where one of his teachers was Friedrich Kiel (1821-1885).

Subsequently, he held a couple of conducting positions in Konstanz, some 400 miles south-southeast of Berlin. However, 1880 saw him return to Warsaw, where he lived out his years. During that time Noskowski taught, and conducted, thereby becoming a leading figure in his country's musical circles. He also composed a significant oeuvre across all genres, and was apparently considered Poland's leading composer during the last ten years of his life.

The Symphony No. 1 in A major (1874-75) was Zygmunt's AHM-graduation piece, and may remind you of Robert Schumann's (1810-1856) symphonies (1832-51). It's in four movements, the first being an "Allegro molto (Very fast)", sonata-form-like one [T-5]. This has an exultant exposition with a brief preface [00:00] hinting at a subsequent thematic nexus [00:44]. Then the latter undergoes an extended, dramatic development [04:11], followed by a thrilling recapitulation [11:01] with a triumphant coda [12:40] that ends things emphatically.

Subsequently, there's an "Andante cantabile (Flowing and songlike)" second [T-6], which is based on a gorgeous idea [00:00] that seems derived from the work's opening measures. All in all, this is a lovely rhapsody with a wistful segment [04:44-06:16], which precludes it from becoming a romantic wallow.

The following "Vivace (Spirited)" scherzoesque movement is in A-B-A-B-A form [T-7]. This has scurrying "A"s [00:00, 06:20, 09:29] featuring a bustling ditty heard at the outset. They alternate with more restrained, trio-like "B"s [03:08, 08:47] based on a related, lyrical tune, and end the movement in rousing fashion.

After that, Noskowski gives us an "Allegro con fuoco (Fast with fire)" Finale [T-8]. It has a lively introduction [00:00] hinting at a heroic theme that soon follows [00:19], and becomes the subject for a variety of succeeding treatments. These range from rustic [00:56] to fugal [01:46, 04:28, 07:19], Slavic-folksong-like [02:21, 02:47, 05:41, 07:56, 09:31] and playful [03:24]. Then a haughty, forceful one [09:56] brings the symphony to a triumphant conclusion.

Begun soon after the preceding work, the Symphony No. 2 "Elegiac" in C minor (1875-79) opens this release. The composer meant it to reflect those difficult years experienced by the Polish people as a result of the January Uprising of 1863-64. Consequently, the music in each of its four movements is rather programmatic.

"The Nation in Bondage" is what the composer titled the first movement [T-1]. This has a dark, "Moderato misterioso (Moderately mysterious)" preface [00:00] soon followed by an increasingly valiant, "Allegro molto (Very fast)" thematic nexus [00:38].

The latter parents several transformations that are respectively Slavic-folksong-like [01:34], proud [02:50], subdued [03:17], confident [04:02] and intensely martial [05:06]. Then there's a brief pause, after which a mellow reworking [05:29] evokes [05:49] an exultant one [06:03]. However, the latter waxes and wanes into striking, tragic passages [08:13] that end the movement decisively.

Then we get "Hope and Call to Arms", this being a "Vivace (Spirited)", A-B-A-B-A structured Scherzo [T-2]. It has lively "A"s [00:00, 05:07, 07:52] based on a Varsovian-dance-like number heard at the outset. These alternate with trioesque "B"s [02:40, 07:13] featuring an august chorale tune.

The following "Andante molto sostenuto (Slow and very sustained)" Elegia is an "Elegy for the Fallen Heroes" [T-3]. It has a dour, drumroll-spiked preface [00:01], which conjures up funereal passages [00:41] with formidable brass outbursts [01:47, 01:57].

All this is cause for a crestfallen episode [04:59] that gives way to a more mollifying one (ME) [06:17]. Then the latter waxes and wanes into another drumroll [08:20] and more blasts of brass [08:24, 08:32] that invoke memories of the opening measures. But these soon die away, thereby ending the movement in the depths of despair.

However, sadness turns to gladness in the final one, which is titled "Per Aspera ad Astra (Through Hardships to the Stars)" [T-4]. This opens with a "Poco adagio (Somewhat slow)" heroic motif [00:00] followed by a pause, after which the double basses hint at an impending, gallant first theme (G1) [00:21]. Then the music turns "Allegro assai vivace (Very fast and spirited)" as they play G1 in full [00:41], thereby making it the subject of a fugal episode.

The foregoing soon gives way to a related, audacious second idea (A2) [01:37], which undergoes a dramatic exploration that fitfully ebbs into some, subdued, ME-reminiscent moments [04:38]. However, these escalate into a joyous, A2-based, closing paean [05:53]. It has an exultant coda [07:11] with bits of the melody for Poland's national anthem known as Mazurka Dąbrowskiego, and ends the work triumphantly.

Award-winning, Polish conductor Antoni Wit (b. 1944), who's championed music by many of his fellow countrymen, leads the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (DSpRh-Pf) in superb renditions of these works. They make a strong case for two pieces that in lesser hands might come off as more ordinary fare.

The recordings took place 17-21 October 2022 at the orchestra's home hall located in Ludwigshafen, Germany, some 300 air miles southwest of Berlin. Both present a comfortably sized sonic image in affable surroundings. The orchestral timbre is characterized by pleasant highs with some bright spots, a good midrange and clean bass. That said, the sound would have undoubtedly been better on a hybrid disc.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P231229)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Wranitzky, Paul: Orch Wks V6 (Die Spanier in Peru..., Jolantha..., Achmet und Zenide); Štilec/CzPard ChPO [Naxos]
The parade of Naxos CDs devoted to the music of this composer rolls on with this sixth volume featuring more of his orchestral works. As before (see 31 August 2023), these are all world première recordings.

By way of reminder, he was born Pavel Vranický in what's now Nová Říše, Czechia (Czech Republic), around 100 miles southeast of Prague, and first studied music in his native country. However, Pavel then moved permanently to Vienna, where he Germanized his name, thereby becoming the Paul Wranitzky (1756-1808) we know today.

This disc has incidental music that he penned for three plays. The first four of its fifteen selections were written in 1795 for German dramatist-writer Auguste von Kotzebue's (1761-1819) five-act tragedy, Die Spanier in Peru, oder Rollas Tod (The Spaniards in Peru, or the Death of Rolla) (1795), Rolla being one of the Peruvian protagonists. And incidentally, the album cover has English portrait-painter Thomas Lawrence's (1769-1830) picture of 1800 showing British actor John Philip Kemble (1957-1823) in that role.

The play is about Spanish Conquistador Franciso Pizarro's (c. 1478-1541) conquest of the Inca Empire in the early 1530s, and our CD opens with the first-act overture [T-1]. This has a "Largo (Slow)", halting introduction [00:01] soon followed by the "Allegro molto (Very fast)", sonata-form, remainder of it, which opens with a scurrying idea (S1) [00:32], as well as a lyrical second (L2) [01:56]. Subsequently, S1 and L2 respectively initiate a development [03:24] and recapitulation [04:36] with a thrilling coda [05:19] that ends exuberantly.

Then we get the second-act overture [T-2], which starts "Allegro (Fast)" with a courtly theme [00:00] that calls up trumpet-heralded, martial passages [00:58] ostensibly suggestive of Pizzaro's exploits. But these wane, and after a brief pause, there's a lovely, Andante moderato (Moderately slow)" episode [03:09].

It has intimations of that old Iberian folk tune La Folia, along with some charming moments for the cello, which conclude things tranquilly. Then as an encore, there's also a delightful, little "Marcia (March)" [T-3] from this act's opening scene.

The "Adagio (Slow)" third-act overture is not included here! That's because it's the same as the slow movement of his Symphony in C major (Op. 33, No. 2; published 1798), which is on Naxos's third volume devoted to his orchestral works (see 31 January 2022). And on that note, the fifth-act "Andante con variazioni (Moderate with variations)" one is also missing. It's identical to a similarly marked movement in one of Paul's many other symphonies (see works), which will hopefully appear on a later volume in this series.

Consequently, the last selection from this play is the fourth-act overture [T-4]. This has a blazing, "Allegro con fuoco (Fast with fire)" introduction [00:00] with violin cadenza-like tidbits [00:34] followed by a brief break. After that, there's a haunting "Andante sostenuto (Slow and sustained)" episode [00:55] with some duet-like interplay between a clarinet and bassoon [01:09].

Subsequently, fiery, "Tempo I (Initial tempo)" suggestions of the opening measures return [03:54]. They're followed by a short break as the stage curtain goes up, and then an "Adagio (Slow)" tidbit [04:59]. The latter gives way to an "Allegro (Fast)" one [05:16], which ends uneventfully with the beginning of the stage action.

Next we get Wranitzky's incidental music for German actor-playwright Friedrich Wilhelm Ziegler's (1761-1827) four-act tragedy titled Jolantha, Könign von Jerusalem (Yolanda, Queen of Jerusalem), dating from 1797. While the underlying story is fictional, it's based on historical characters, the principal one being Yolanda (1212-1228). The plot also involves an invading Muslim army as well as the Knights Templar (c. 1119-1312).

The first-act overture [T-5] alternates pensive, "Andante (Walking speed)" [00:00, 01:36, 02:50, 04:06] passages with brash, "Allegro non troppo (Fast, but not too quickly)" ones [01:09, 02:04, 03:15, 04:39]. These would respectively seem to represent the stately Knights and Muslim invaders.

Then things turn very martial with the second-act one [T-6]. It limns an off-stage battle between those Knights and Muslims outside the gates of Jerusalem. After that, the curtain goes up, and we get a moving, "Larghetto (Rather slow)" Trauer Marsch (Funeral March) [T-7] for those killed in the conflict.

This is followed by the third-act overture [T-8], which is in ternary, A-B-A form and based on a majestic theme heard at the outset [00:00]. Here fugal, "Andante con moto (Slow with movement)", outer "A"s [00:00, 05:50] bracket an "Adagio (Slow)", tranquil "B" [02:16-05:49], and bring things to a rousing conclusion.

The fourth-act one [T-9] begins with a hymnlike, "Adagio (Slow)" segment [00:00], which is succeeded by an increasingly vivacious, "Allegro giusto (Fast and precise)", closing episode [01:33]. These give a nod to the religious as well as martial elements in the play.

Moving right along, we get this composer's incidental music for German actor-playwright August Wilhelm Iffland's (1759-1814) five-act drama titled Achmet und Zenide (Achmet and Zenide). Dating from 1796, It's set in a Turkish palace and according to the album notes, involves a love triangle between the resident Pasha, his favorite concubine, and a European visitor.

This is cause for some wonderful Janissary music like that in Mozart's (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) of 14 years earlier (1782). It's evident right from the start of the first-act, "Allegro (Fast)", sonata-form overture [T-10]. This begins with a captivating martial idea [00:00] followed by a songlike one [01:30]. Then both are food for a catchy development [02:40] and spirited recapitulation [03:44] that ends things triumphantly.

The second-act one begins with an "Allegro non troppo (Fast, but not too quickly)" marked Ouverture Capriccio [T-11], which is a capricious morsel that may remind you of Papageno's ditties in "Wolfie's" Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) of 1791. Then its third-act, "Allegro agitato (Fast and excited)" counterpart [T-12] is of Janissary persuasion right from the start [00:00].

Subsequently, there's a ternary, A-B-A form, fourth-act one [T-13], featuring a lovely theme heard at the outset [00:00]. Here "Adagio (Slow)", charming "A"s [00:00, 02:52] bracket an "Allegretto (Joyful)", jaunty "B" [01:29-02:51], and bring things to a comely conclusion. Then from later in the act, there's a brief Janissary-like Marsch (March) [T-14] based on a pert number [00:00].

The fifth-act "Allegro molto (Very fast)" marked overture [T-15] is another sonata-form creation. Its exposition has a vivacious first idea (V1) [00:00] and tuneful second [00:51]. Then the foregoing are reworked. thereby calling up a dramatic development [03:00]. After that, there's a thrilling recapitulation [03:48] with a commanding, V1-based coda [05:45] that ends this selection and disc with a decisive, "So there!" cadence [05:57].

As on the previous volume in this series (see 31 August 2023), these performances are by the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, which is based some 60 miles east of Prague. Under their first principle conductor, Marek Štilec (b. 1985), these superb musicians deliver committed, enthusiastic accounts of the fifteen, incidental rarities featured here.

The recordings were made 21-24 February 2022 at The House of Music in Pardubice and project a generous sonic image in affable surroundings. The orchestral timbre is characterized by pleasant highs, a rich midrange and clean lows. Consequently, the sound is as good as it gets on conventional CDs for Classical-period-sized orchestras like the one here. What's more, this time around it's a bit more colorful for those janissary-related moments, where the scoring calls for a triangle, cymbals and bass drum [T-10, 12, 14].

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y231228)